It was not a game of beauty Tuesday between Ottawa and Eudora high school boys basketball teams. It was more of a grind-it-out style basketball game.
The Cyclones played with grit and determination to carve out a 33-26 win over the Cardinals.
"They defended the heck out of us," Ottawa coach Cliff McCullough said. "They made us shoot [from the outside]. If we hit 30 percent of our shots, it is not a contest. They took a gamble and it paid off. We were ice cold shooting. It was a tough, tough night."
Points were tough to come by. Ottawa led 13-11 at halftime and the game was tied at 21-21 at the end of the third quarter.
McCullough knew the game would be played close to the vest against a Kyle Deterding-coached team. Ottawa defeated Eudora by nine just 10 days ago.
"I would not expect anything less," he said. "He did not make any major adjustments than they did last week. They played better and harder."
Eudora attempted to keep Ottawa out of the lane. When Ottawa did drive, the Cardinals collapsed on the ball and shut down the passing lanes.
"We still wanted to get the ball inside," McCullough said. "It is our bread-and-butter. We could not get anthing inside."
McCullough said two early charges changed the complexion of how the Cyclones attacked Eudora.
"The two charges early in the game affected my guys in trying to drive to the rim," McCullough said. "They were scared to. We still have to drive the ball, but you have to be under control. We did not want to attack. That is what we do. He took that away. He took our post game away at times."
In the fourth quarter, Ottawa hit free throws to stretch the lead.
"We got the right guys at the free-throw line and started hitting," McCullough said.
Ottawa led by two with less than three minutes remaining when Ottawa called a timeout to set up strategy.
"I don’t think we could hold it that long," McCullough said. "We stayed in our regular offense. We just want to be selective. We don’t have to force a score. If we get a good post up, one-on-one matchup, then get the ball to them and go to work. We came out and they fouled us and we hit two free throws. Then we jumped into a zone to take some time off the clock. I felt a whole lot better about holding the ball after that. They went to the press and got a layup from Kobe on the press."
Ottawa plays Friday at home against Bonner Springs. It will be Senior Night.
On Saturday, Ottawa plays Schlagle, in a rescheduled 810 Varsity Classic contest. Tip-off is at noon at Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri.